Febuary 9, 2018

When I met Hugh Masekela

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Fact Number One: South African music legend Hugh Masekela speaks better Fanti than me. Which doesn't say much since my Fanti doesn't travel far beyond basic greetings.

Fact Number Two: Senegalese singer Akon is a descendant of a family of fisher folk originally from Ghana. And his real (Ghanaian) name is Ackon. Or so claimed a guest at the wedding reception I hosted at La Palm Royal Beach Hotel.

Akon wasn't available for me to verify his ancestry but as for Hugh Masekela, I met him. He was the reason wedding guests stayed deep into the night shaking their bodies to 'Lady', 'Rekpete' and other hits.

I was privileged to share a few words with Bra Hugh just before he went onstage. I didn't test his Fanti but it turns out he's married to a lady from the Volta Region. And by the way, his pronunciation of Eʋe words is impeccable.

At the end of our chat, I asked him how he'd like to be introduced. "Don't overdo it!" he growled, eyes twinkling at the same time.

I'm glad to report I didn't disobey.

Note: This article was originally published on in January 2013.